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Childhood cancer often left out of awareness picture

On Sunday, J.K. Murphy, publisher of the Gwinnett Daily Post, proudly proclaimed that on Oct. 1, the paper would be black and white and pink all over to support breast cancer awareness month.

What is strange is the fact that the month of September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and so far I have not seen one word in the Daily Post acknowledging that fact. Leukemia, brain, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and rhabdomyosarcoma are just some of the cancers children are fighting on a daily basis. About 16,500 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 2,300 of them will die from the disease.

The American Cancer Society spends less than 70 cents of each $100 raised on childhood cancer. The National Cancer Institute's federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12 percent, prostate cancer received 7 percent, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3 percent.

As the grandfather of a 6-year-old who at the age of 21/2 years was diagnosed with Stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma and given about a 40 percent chance of surviving, I know full well the emotions and financial strains a family goes through fighting cancer.

You want to find out what tough means? Go visit Egleston or Scottish Rite and go to the AFLAC clinics.You won't be there very long before you understand.

I can't begin to explain how your life will change in 200 words, but if you get pulled into the world of childhood cancer, I promise you one thing: You will have a different way of looking at your blessings. Remember the kids in the month of September.